Are you noticing that your eyes feel a bit itchy and look a bit red? There are a number of possibilities of what it could be. However, this is usually a good indicator that you’re experiencing an eye infection. Keep reading to learn more about eye infections and how you can get treated.
What causes an eye infection?
Most eye infections occur when microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses come in contact with any part of an eyeball or the surrounding tissue areas. They can affect both your cornea and conjunctiva, which is the thin lining that covers the surface of your eyeball.
What is the most common eye infection?
Conjunctivitis, more often known as pink eye, is one of the most common types of eye infection. More often than not, it affects children rather than adults. It occurs when there’s an inflammation inside the eyelid, which affects the eye’s outer layer as well. Symptoms usually consist of a burning sensation, redness, itching, and discharge.
What are the different types of eye infections?
There are three types of eye infections: bacterial, viral, and allergic. Each one has distinct differences from the other.
Bacterial eye infections have a much thicker and cloudier discharge than the others. Redness occurs in the conjunctiva, and those affected are most likely to experience extreme itching and tearing up.
Viral eye infections have more of a mucus or gel-like discharge along with redness of the conjunctiva. You might experience slight discomfort when looking at lights, as well as an itching feeling paired with tearing up. Your optometrist will likely notice a swollen lymph node near your ear as well.
Allergic eye infections include tearing and itching, but no discharge. Unsurprisingly, they are most common when you are experiencing other allergy symptoms from dust, pollen, mold, etc.
Which eye infection types are contagious?
It’s important to note that eye infections can be very contagious and easily spread, especially around children. However, while viral and bacterial eye infections are contagious, allergic ones are not.
Most of the viruses that cause conjunctivitis are easily spread via hand-to-eye contact through hands or objects that were previously contaminated with the virus. Touching the infected part of the eye itself or a previously contaminated object can contaminate your hands and spread the virus further.
How are eye infections treated?
Each type of infection is treated differently due to its severity. Bacterial eye infections need antibiotic eye drops to fight the infection properly. With the help of these drops, it will take around 5-10 days for the infection to fully heal.
Viral infections take longer to heal compared to bacterial infections. Every case is different, but it can take up to 2-3 weeks for your viral infection to fully recover. The most important remedy is time.
For the most part, the majority of viral eye infections heal on their own. For severe cases, your optometrist might prescribe drops to heal if necessary. It’s essential to keep your hands away from your eyes during this time, because a second infection could occur as the virus sheds over a two-week period. Experts recommend a cool compress if your eyes become red, itchy, or swollen. If a crust forms from the discharge, a warm compress is often better for you and recommended rather than a cool one.
Allergic eye infections go away on their own as well, much like regular allergies for the most part. Cool compresses or cucumber slices can provide relief, as well as allergy eye drops, anti-inflammatories, and decongestants.
Overall, the best way to prevent eye infections is diligent hand-washing and avoiding contact with those who may be or were recently infected. However, if you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned previously, there’s no need to research “eye doctor near me.” Just ask our happy patients!
Located in both Camp Hill, PA and Harrisburg, PA, Premier Eye Care Group has a number of eye specialists and optometrists with decades of experience who can help treat any eye infection or other common eye problem, no matter how minor or severe.
Contact us today so we can provide
you with the care you require!